The project is curated and produced by Ruby Colley. The films focus on a particular place that Ruby long admired – the place where the Sea meets the industrial estates of Bulverhithe industrial estate, West St Leonards. With our growing awareness of the climate catastrophe, how these “confused” spaces, where nature and human industrialisation sit next to each other, are perceived?
Filmed, directed & sound by Ruby Colley
Edited by Tim Corrigan
With special thanks to:
EDGELAND focuses on four points of interest in and around the Bulverhithe seaside walkway train depo and industrial estate. The people that live there, work there and pass through it. This is explored primarily through sound. Active listening allows us to connect to a sense of place, as well as baring witness to spaces & sounds that can be overlooked.
Paul is Ruby’s brother. His home sits right on the edge of the railway itself. Paul is neurodivergent and has a particular interest in trains. Ruby finds it interesting that he has found a home in a place that many would find undesirable… it is also not lost on her that as a person that sits at the edge of ‘normal’ society, he has found a home on an Edgealnd.
Paul likes to have music playing as part of his supportive environment and has particular songs that he enjoys. The song heard in the film is taken with him into the garden on a remote speaker: My Old Man’s a Dustman – The Irish Rovers. He is supported by his carer Lee Hustwait.
The second is the train depo. It is an old building that houses vintage trains as part of the heritage railway, as well as local trains for regular service. Two men John White & Francis Wallis tell Ruby about their experiences of working & volunteering there, and how the proximity of the sea and its inhabitants affects the building and the work that happens there.
The third is the bridge that links the industrial estate, passes over the railway to the beach.
Ruby recorded the bridge with contact mics, which pics up the vibration of the structure itself. What you hear are the vibrations of people walking, trains passing underneath and the general hum of metal within the bridge. She wanted to explore the fulcrum between two distinct worlds – the space that bridges human industrialisation and natural space.
The last is the walkway and beach. The natural sounds of the sea, bird life and weather, sit against the human presence of walkers, trains, and other objects you find within the small fishing community there.
For Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, according to their book “Edgelands”, these are the great “unnamed” and “ignored” landscapes of modern England: places where “our slipstream has created a zone of inattention” in which all manner of interest and beauty thrive.